Couched in Humility
This is the high position of Sri Guru. But, although Srila Guru Maharaj is holding this elevated position and this priceless treasure, we see that he always exhibited a profound humility and natural shyness. Srila Guru Maharaj is known as the Emperor of Sannyasis, the Jewel of the Brahmanas, but his outward dress was that of a humble servant. He was the topmost shining disciple of his Gurudev, but he dressed in the simplest cloth. To the sincere Vaishnavas who could recognise his pure and perfect example, this humble cloth was opulent beyond measure. It was as if he was clothed with the brilliant sun. That simple dress was worshipable.
Srila Guru Maharaj has said, "They are not conscious of their own exalted position. A king, when he is not very conscious of his power, thinks of himself as an ordinary person. It is something like that. Someone may be a great doctor, but through affection he may do the work of a nurse for his patient. Out of his love and affection for the patient he may come down to do such work, but still he is great. This is the beautiful nature of Vrindavan life. It is great without the attitude, the air of bigness. Although they are really great, they appear to be simple. Power dressed in affection and love, couched in humility - that is Vrindavan. And this is also Nabadwip…. From an impartial judgment of the facts their position is very great, but through humility they have apparently descended to our level. It is a very sweet and beautiful form of life that we find in Vrindavan." It is the heart-capturing quality that we find in Srila Guru Maharaj.
As the physician examines a patient for hidden ailments, Sri Gurudev can also help us to examine the hidden corners of our heart for diseases that may block our spiritual progress. The pure and saintly Vaishnavas represent the Supreme Lord and if they are sympathetic to us and are drawn to our feeling of utter helplessness, to our sincere heartbreaking mood of unworthiness and shame, then the Infinite will also become attracted. The negative feelings of the devotee attract Sri Guru and through his grace Krishna is also drawn there. The Supreme Lord of the universe finds the humility of the aspiring devotee very relishable.
This is Our High and Noble Sampradaya
Last year on this occasion His Divine Grace Srila Govinda Maharaj spoke about the glories of his beloved Srila Guru Maharaj. "So many are giving honour and praise to Srila Guru Maharaj, but we are feeling that he has given his lotus feet just to us. We are so fortunate that we have got the lotus feet of Srila Guru Maharaj. We cannot believe how much the disciple is dependant upon his Gurudev. If we surrender to our Guru everything will be right by his divine mercy. Srila Narottam Das Thakur has mercifully given that clue to us.
sri-rupa-manjari-pada, sei mora sampada,
sei mor bhajana-pujana
sei mora prana-dhana, sei mora abharana,
sei mor jivanera jivana
"Srila Narottam Das Thakur has very clearly given that instruction, and not only given, but also following purely. He showed his own position. Without the mercy of Sri Rupa Goswami we have nothing. Without Rupa Goswamipad's mercy no one can understand the deeper meaning of this song. If Sri Rupa is merciful to us, then we shall get everything in the service world…. This is our high and noble sampradaya."
In his divine prayer to Sri Rupa Goswami, Srila Guru Maharaj wrote:
lila-samgopa-kale nirupadhi-karuna-karina svaminaham
yat padabje ‘rpito yat pada-bhajanamayam gayayitva tu gitam
yogyayogyatva-bhavam mama khalu sakalam dusta-buddher agrhnan
sa sri rupah kada mam nija-pada-rajasa bhusitam samvidhatte
~ Srimad Rupa-pada-rajah Prarthana Dasakam, verse 10
"Just prior to the withdrawal of his manifest lila, my causelessly merciful Divine Master, Srila Saraswati Thakur, handed me over to the holy feet of that Divine Personality by having me sing the glorious prayer unto his lotus feet (Sri Rupa-manjari-pada). Despite my lowliness, when will - disregarding all my various qualifications and disqualifications - Srimad Rupa Prabhu grace me with the dust of his holy lotus feet?"
Ever-fresh Facets of Light
Srila Guru Maharaj composed many deeply spiritual prayers and commentaries in Sanskrit and Bengali including the purport of the Rg-Veda Mantra, his inner purport of the Gayatri Mantra, commentary of the Chatur-sloki of Bhagavad-gita, Sri Bhaktivinoda Viraha-Dasakam, Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam and many other works. His profound devotional mood, deep scholarship and keen understanding of revealed Sastras remind us of the six Goswamis of Sri Vrindavan Dham who were so dear to Sriman Mahaprabhu. When thousands of spiritual seekers from around the world came to Nabadwip to seek solace and guidance, Srila Guru Maharaj was able to beautifully and perfectly represent the divine teachings of his Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, in the English language.
Srila Govinda Maharaj likes to recall how, at times, Srila Guru Maharaj would share a sloka-jewel the way a young boy tosses you one of his favourite marbles. But these gems were of the highest substance. Like a master jeweller, Srila Guru Maharaj had the ability to cast newer and ever-fresh facets of light and insight into the purports of Sri Gaudiya Vaishnava Siddhanta. He gave us gems of pure Vaishnavism. Srila Guru Maharaj was constantly tasting the sweetness of Hari-katha. It is explained that that sweetness, that intoxication, comes down from the transcendental world through the servitors of Krishna. Those servitors "dance and chant ecstatically, and while doing so, some of that ecstasy is spilt here and there and we can easily take that."
Srila Guru Maharaj wrote, "I have collected those drops of ecstasy in my Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam. You take it and taste for yourself what this is."
niksipta madhu-bindavas cha parito bhrasta mukhat gunjitaih
yatnaih kinchid ihahrtam nija-parasreyo 'rthina tan maya
bhuyobhuya ito rajamsi pada-samlagnani tesam bhaje
~Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam 10.14
In The Divine Servitor Srila Govinda Maharaj has commented, "I think that this is the highest sloka I have received in my life, and I shall try to explain the meaning.
'In the lotus feet of Bhagavan Sri Krishna is honey. The devotees in a very glorifying way are tasting that; and it is not a mere drop of honey, rather it is an ocean. They take that and become very intoxicated. They chant and glorify their Lord, and that honey overflows. A few drops of that come down into this world and I am quickly collecting those drops of honey and keeping them in a pot: that is Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam. For my benefit and the benefit of the searchers, I am presenting this in book form. You take this and bless me.'
"This, in a simple way, is the meaning of that sloka, and I think that this is the highest sloka I have heard in my life. I am always quoting this...."
Dayal Nitai, Dayal Nitai
Srila Guru Maharaj was always chanting, "Dayal Nitai, Dayal Nitai, Dayal Nitai." He said, "My only hope is 'Dayal Nitai, Dayal Nitai.' Srila Govinda Maharaj reminds us that Srila Guru Maharaj was showing us our true fortune - that is Dayal Nitai. By the mercy of Sriman Nityananda we must be successful. Srila Guru Maharaj was constantly reminding the devotees to be humble by way of trnad api sunichena taror api sahisnuna, amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih. When we can understand properly, we must think, "I am very, very insignificant and my only hope is the mercy of the Vaishnavas, and my only shelter is my Divine Master."
Before taking his permanent residence in the place of aparadha-bhanjan-pat, Sri Nabadwip Dham, Srila Guru Maharaj went to Nityananda Prabhu's birthplace at Ekachakra to seek His permission. There, patita-pavana, Lord Nitai, gave Srila Guru Maharaj this inspiration: "You must try your best to help those that in your consideration are fallen." Srila Guru Maharaj did not desire to take a prominent role or have many disciples. He preferred to stay in the background, but through the mercy of Dayal Nitai, Sri Gaura Hari and Sri Guru, he returned to Nabadwip and gave himself purely and selflessly to all sincere seekers. His mercy is our wealth and our life.
It is said that Srila Guru Maharaj is not only a star of the Sri Gaudiya Vaishnava firmament, but the moon itself! The spotless full moon that is Srila Guru Maharaj is respected and loved for his affectionate nature, deep devotion and saintly simplicity. He has reminded us that if we can see God's will everywhere, we will see that everything is divine. It is all the grace of our loving Lord. "One day will come when our egoistic feeling will dissolve and from within, our real self, a member of the infinite world, will spring up and awaken, and we will find ourselves in the sweet waves of that environment. There, everything is sweet. The breeze is sweet, the water is sweet, the trees are sweet, whatever we come in contact with is sweet, sweet, sweet."
devam divya-tanum suchanda-vadanam-balarka-chelanchitam
sandrananda-puram sad-eka-varanam vairagya-vidyambudhim
sri-siddhanta-nidhim subhakti-lasitam sarasvatanam varam
vande tam subhadam mad-eka-saranam nyasisvaram sridharam
~by Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
"I fall at the feet of Srila Sridhar-Dev,
who with charming expression sings his songs of sweet nectar.
Dressed with fine garments like sun newly-risen, sarasvatanam
he's the true saint the devotees have chosen.
His detachment and knowledge are just like an ocean,
the treasure-house of complete, perfect conclusion.
Radiant in Pastimes of loving devotion,
the abode of pure ecstasy, bestower of good fortune;
foremost true follower of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta,
foremost great general of the whole renounced order,
my lord and my master, my only shelter, I worship his feet, Srila Sridhar-Dev."
Jaya Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakcharyya-varyya Astottara-sat-Sri Srimad Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jaya!
Jaya Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakcharyya-varyya Astottara-sat-Sri Srimad Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jaya!
Ananta-koti Vaishnava-vrnda ki jaya!
Sri Hapaniya Dham ki jaya!
Feeling helpless and unqualified I bow to the lotus feet of Srila Acharyyadev and all the Vaishnavas, those who are just beginning and those who are advanced on the path of Krishna consciousness. I pray that my pride will be melted by your good association.